Dear School Boards and Educators:
This week the President released his proposed K-12 education appropriations priorities for the federal Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations cycle. These proposals would affect your FY19 budget process. If enacted, this budget would result in reductions in federal funds to school districts – most acutely in school districts with high numbers of students living in poverty--in the FY19 school year. We are forward funded for the FY18 school year.
The President’s proposed budget is an opportunity for him to signal about his priorities. It is not the budget that will be approved. Many of the programs that the President proposes to cut are programs that received broad bipartisan support during the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed with strong bipartisan support only two years ago, by many of the same members who now will be working on the federal budget. At the time ESSA passed, Congress affirmed its commitment to funding the provisions of this long overdue and much improved version of ESEA. On the basis of that commitment, the Vermont Agency of Education spent the last year engaging stakeholders across the state and developing a state ESSA plan (recently submitted) that was true to the language of the statute. The proposed cuts now threaten our ability to effectively implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as written by diverting resources to new, ill-defined purposes with a weak research base at the expense of our most vulnerable children. We assume that the same bipartisan coalition in Congress that worked so hard on ESSA will want to maintain and support the law as intended.
The Vermont Agency of Education will be working hard with our congressional delegation to advocate for the state of Vermont and in particular, our most vulnerable students. Governor Scott is committed to investments that grow the economy and make Vermont more affordable, but is equally committed to making sure that progress doesn’t come at the expense of our most vulnerable, and in particular, our most vulnerable children. The Governor and the Vermont Agency of Education will be working concurrently with other Governors to fully articulate the potential adverse impacts of the President’s budget on Vermont’s schools.